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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Wow. "Wild Things" is one of those trash masterpieces that is just so clever, so hot and so fun that it becomes one of the most interesting and under-rated films of the 1990s. The rich Denise Richards and the very poor Neve Campbell each accuse high school teacher Matt Dillon of rape, but there is something that is not quite right. Enter detectives Kevin Bacon and Daphne Rubin-Vega. They both doubt that the case is as simple as it seems. Boy are they right. The investigation leads to court where it is made clear by Dillon's attorney (Bill Murray) that the case lacks any real evidence to convict Dillon to prosecutor Robert Wagner's despair. The whole thing was a fabrication to get to Richards' mother's riches (Theresa Russell). But of course this is just the start and there will be double-, triple- and even quadruple-crossing and it is skewered who are good and who are evil or is anyone good? A brilliant screenplay by Stephen Peters and Alfred Hitchcock-styled direction by John McNaughton makes "Wild Things" a trashy, but highly impressive cinematic winner. 4 stars out of 5.
Wild Things is a fantastic example of what can be achieved by not
worrying about substance and having a film play for straight
entertainment value. Here we have a film that takes elements such as
beautiful stars, beautiful locations and a bucket load of plot twists
and blends it all into a highly enjoyable film experience. Of course,
Wild Things doesn't always come across very realistically and, at times
even, it's downright ridiculous; but it's done in such a way that it
doesn't matter, and because of that we have a film that can do what it
wants. The film is helmed by John McNaughton, who had his first success
with the cult horror flick Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. It has
to be said that the scene setting and way that the plot moves is
somewhat ham-fisted, as sometimes it's painfully obvious that certain
sections of the film exist only to give it another selling point; the
argument that starts out between Denise Richards and Neve Campbell
beside a swimming pool being a case in point. However, McNaughton makes
good of these selling points, and for every three way sex scene and
absurd plot twist, the film gains an extra point for trashy
It's not immediately obvious what Wild Things is going to be about, as the first twenty minutes serve only in setting the scene and from that base, the film could easily turn into any teenage school flick. However, it turns out that this time is well used; as by nulling the audience into a false sense of security, the film is able to make sure that every twist comes as a surprise. The film benefits from a great big name cast, which is anchored by Matt Dillon; who gives one of his best performances. Dillon clearly enjoys himself, and his persona is able to suit both the sleazy and upstanding nature of his character. Kevin Bacon sleepwalks and isn't really able to show his true talent, and similarly Neve Campbell looks out of place (sexy with it) in her role as a teenage junkie. However, Denise Richards rounds the piece of nicely with a charged performance and the ensemble is nicely topped off by the likes of Bill Murray, Theresa Russell and Robert Wagner. The settings that the movie takes place in look great, and ensure that there's more eye candy than just the female leads. Director McNaughton presents a fabulously mysterious atmosphere which obviously bodes well with the plot and, on the whole, if you want a couple of hours of entertainment; you can do a lot, lot worse than this twisty little flick.
If you ever thought a crime thriller could be filmed in Aaron Spelling manner, you've got your movie. Everybody is so good looking and the plot twists more than Chubby Checker. However, in the end almost everything falls into place. You get your suspense, excitement, intrigue and lots of close-ups on some gorgeous hunks. Not so bad at all.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
`People aren't always what they appear to be. Don't forget that.' Ray's (Kevin Bacon) sage words of advice couldn't ring more true about this tale of deception and hidden alliances. Wild Things, set in a bayou college town, is sleazy neo-noir a la Body Heat. The direction and acting are mediocre; however, Stephen Peters script is quite clever, delivering a number of unexpected twists that just don't let up. It's all a bit contrived and unbelievable, but it's very fun. The film isn't quite as sexy or explicit as the hype led viewers to expect, but it delivers enough to keep one interested until the final credit. The menage a trois between Lombardo (Dillon), Suzie (Campbell), and Kelly (Richards) leaves a lot to be desired; it's a bit lifeless, and Dillon's facial expressions are laughable. Bill Murray is solid but miscast as a soft but sleazy lawyer, and Teresa Russell's acting skills regress with each film she makes.
The final credits sequence is interesting. It contains scenes that (fortunately) were not used for the main body of the film; if they had, they would have made some of the calculated twists much too obvious. The very last scene between Campbell and Bill Murray, which rolls after the aforementioned scenes, extends/embellishes the story with one more twist. All the twists seem to work just perfectly like a snug-fitting puzzle. Director John McNaughton is best known for his stylish debut film Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Kevin Bacon served as executive producer. Recommended on a slow evening.
Yes, it's lurid. Yes, it's trashy. Yes, it doesn't stand up to close
scrutiny. And yes, if you're the sort of person who specialises in
spotting plot twists, then you're probably going to do well here.
But if you haven't seen this film before, and you're prepared for something a bit on the lurid and trashy side, and you can manage to steer clear of the many spoilers among the reviews here, then you just might find that Wild Things is a fun ride.
Because there are, it's true, a number of twists and turns, and not everyone sees them coming. And if you aren't a twist-spotter, but you enjoy movies with twists, then you are going to enjoy this one.
I thought it was great fun. And, let's be fair, who's watching Denise Richards' acting?
In Blue Bay's elite beach communities and into the murky waters of the
Everglades, you would expect nothing beyond this venture until a
guidance counselor (Matt Dillon) is accused of raping two high school
students (Neve Campbell and Denise Richards). While they are two
detectives on the cast (Kevin Bacon and Daphne Rubin-Vega), they find
out there's more than meets the eye in the mystery of deceit, sex and
Directed by John Mc Naughton (Herny:Portrait of a Serial Killer, Lansky, Normal Life) made an entertaining trashy noir that has an unique blend of sex, suspense, comedy and a twisted story. An terrific cast makes things enjoyable, which included:Theresa Russell, Robert Wagner and Bill Murray. This film wasn't much of a hit, when it was first released in the spring of 1998. But it turned into a cult hit on video.
The Unrated DVD has an sharp anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1) transfer and an good Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. The Unrated DVD adds seven minutes of additional footage, which it has some good moments...especially during the end credits and the characters are more fleshed-out in the Unrated DVD. "Wild Things" has an good moody music score by George S. Clinton (Austin Powers Trilogy) and striking camera work by Jeffery L. Kimball (Jacob's Ladder, Stigmata, True Romance) are one of the highlights of this guilty pleasure film. Bacon is also the film's executive producer. Murray is a hoot in his minor role as Dillon's lawyer. Written by Stephen Peters. Panavision. (****/*****).
Much has been said about the sexual content of this movie for which I
can only say it was nice to get such mice views, clothed and unclothed
of Denise Richards. But overall the sexuality of this film is moderate
Why i really liked it is because all of the twists in the plots actually come together. At the end of the film, integrated with the end credits, are previously unseen events that kept the full tale slightly hidden from the viewer. By inserting them at the end, the full story was told without inhibiting the ride. If you missed the hints and clues along the way, u can see what you failed to figure out.
Certainly this is not a tale that fails to stretch credibility, but its is a film for amusement. But unlike so many, the mystery is solvable and does not rely on contrivances created at the end to make you feel stupid. If you miss them you are not stupid, but if foresee any of the conclusion, and the can be foreseen, hats off to you.
Based on the trailers, I expected this to be a low-budget, B-movie that
showed off the anatomies of pretty girls - not that that is entirely
bad - but I do expect more from a movie.
In actuality, this is a very, very good plot that is executed well by the principal actors. Neve Campbell, Denise Richards (surprisingly), and especially Matt Dillion turn in very good performances. I always enjoy Bill Murray and his part in this movie, although fairly small, adds some levity.
I can't comment too much on this movie without spoiling it, except to say that things aren't always what they expect to be. There are a lot of plot twists, some that probably couldn't stand tremendous scrutiny, but are realistic enough to keep the audience engaged.
The other technical aspects of the movie - direction and cinematography - are done very well, too. That is, they are unobtrusive.
This really is a thoroughly entertaining film, and while it does contain one rather steamy scene, is not a cheap sex film, but a well-thought out, well-executed story. I highly recommend it.
During the very limited theatrical run that Wild Things recieved here (I
think it was gone in about three weeks), a lot of the reviews and publicity
created the impression that this was a soap opera sex thriller. I guess
that's an easy approach to take when summing this film up, since its two
female leads featured in Party Of Five and episodes of Doogie Howser (man
what an awful show that was), not to mention that one of the male leads
would be doing well to act his way out of a wet paper bag. The problem with
that is that it is just too easy, and easy answer is exactly the sort of
thing that this film goes out of its way to avoid. It is not trying to be a
modern Hitchcock, it is not trying to be another Basic Instinct, it is just
trying to tell a story.
The story, such as it is, seems to revolve around Blue Bay High School, the town it is located in, and its snobby, high-income elite, at least in the first reel. We are introduced to all four of the characters who will figure prominently in the story to come during a lecture to the students in their senior year. There's Sam the guidance counsellor, Ray the corrupt policeman, Kelly the daughter of the wealthiest real estate mogul in town, and Suzie the girl from the caravan park across town. All four of these characters have secrets they'd rather not share with any other inhabitant of the town, but that all comes apart when Kelly accuses Sam of raping her. Suzie corroborates her story at first, but then we get our first inkling that things are not all they seem, through the efforts of Bill Murray in one of his best cameos ever. The whole thing is seemingly a conspiracy between Sam, Suzie, and Kelly, but we are never shown whose idea it is until the very end.
This next passage will ruin a key surprise the film has in store, so don't read it if you haven't seen it. Unless things have radically changed in this regard during the last ten years, psychologists and other such professionals do not tell test subjects exactly what their IQ is. Even if Suzie or her mother did know exactly, this whole point is delivered with such sledgehammer force that it almost utterly ruins the subtle, slow buildup that the rest of the film exhibited. Were they just running out of money when it came time to film this spot and just decided to go with the quickest, simplest thing they could do? It would have been much more effective and satisfying if the ugly cop (I forget the name) had just spent five or ten minutes going through whatever Suzie had left behind on her run to the Carribean. Summing up this plot point in fifteen seconds was an exceptionally bad move.
Overall, however, you can't really go wrong with this film for an evening's entertainment. It doesn't feel the need to talk down at its audience, it doesn't resort to excess simplicity to make itself understood (except for the aforementioned ending), it just tells a story and tells it reasonably well. It is also another great example of DVD's utter superiority, especially during the threesome scene. When this part of the film is shown in its proper aspect ratio, you can make out every character and certain little details I'm sure that Denise Richards would appreciate not having available to horny teenage boys in a freezable and zoomable format. When was the last time you zoomed in on an actress' boobs with a VHS cassette, assuming they were left in frame after some jerk with an editing console chopped it down to fit those garbage 4:3 screens?
There is a website that shows silly abbreviated synopsises for
movies...for this movie it says "There's a plot twist, There's a plot
twist, There's a plot twist...There's a plot twist...There's a plot
twist...There's a plot twist...The End...There's a plot twist."
This sums up the movie very accurately. It's mind popcorn, nothing more. The saving grace of this movie is that you KNOW it's a melodrama that's really not to be taken seriously.
The main actors bring life into what could be very overdone characters. The cinematography is not to be missed, and the supporting cast fills in the movie nicely.
Not a great movie, but a good movie to vegg out to!
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